Turkey Must not Expand Into Syria U.S. Senator Graham Warns

Published July 5th, 2018 - 08:02 GMT
Turkish army tanks and troops near Hassa in Hatay province, ready to push into Syria (AFP/ File photo)
Turkish army tanks and troops near Hassa in Hatay province, ready to push into Syria (AFP/ File photo)

Veteran Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has said Turkey risks being dragged into a quagmire if it expands its military expedition in Syria.

Graham told Reuters on Wednesday that despite Ankara's anger over Washington's relationship with Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, a withdrawal of US forces from the war-torn country could spell disaster for Turkey, he told Reuters.

The Republican Senator, who is also Senate Armed Services Committee, met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara during a regional tour which includes visits to northern Syria and Iraq.

"I tried to make the case that you want America in Syria because the outcomes of us leaving are not good," he told the news agency. 

"You don't want any further incursions in Syria by the Turkish military, you’ll get yourself in a quagmire."

Turkey has launched two major offensives into Syria since war broke out there in 2011.

The first campaign - backed by Syrian rebel fighters - was aimed at dislodging Islamic State group militants from its border region.

The second, earlier this year, at capturing the Kurdish canton of Afrin.

Ankara has been uneasy about Washington's relationship with the People's Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish militia which has been key to the fightback against IS in Syria.

The US and Turkey agreed a deal last month which will see YPG fighters withdraw from Manbij, with Turkish and US forces taking over security in the Syrian city.

Graham said keeping Kurdish YPG fighters east of the Euphrates River "should be sufficient" to keep the peace between the two sides.

Kurdish fighters have fought a decades' long insurgency in Turkey against government forces, with thousands killed in the war between the two sides.



This article has been adapted from its original source. 


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